Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"The Mistletoe Promise" by Richard Paul Evans

Although this is a Christmas book, I am posting about it now as part of Heidi's Cinderella party at Along the Brandywine.  

I first read this last month, all in one afternoon while curled up by our fireplace, drinking coffee while my mom played with my kids.  It wasn't until page 188 that I realized it was a Cinderella retelling -- sometimes I can be really obtuse.  And when I did realize it, it was only because Evans basically hit me over the head with it by having one character discuss a sculpture of Cinderella and her carriage.  Oops!  Like I said, I can be obtuse.

Anyway, The Mistletoe Promise is about a lonely woman named Elise who works for a travel company, planning trips for other people to take, trips to places she'll never visit herself.  She's divorced and has a some tragic baggage from her past.  She's sad and hopeless, going through the motions of living a life when inside she'd rather curl up in bed forever.

And into her life one November day steps successful attorney Nicholas, who works in the same building.  He makes an interesting suggestion:  for the duration of the holidays, they could pretend to be a couple.  Attend each others' work parties and family get-togethers, the places you'd like to take a date if you had one.  Beyond her company at such public functions, he asks for nothing.  He does offer that if they'd like to eat lunch together during the week or go other Christmasy places they could, but they don't have to.  

At first, Elise refuses.  She's a little creeped out and suspicious.  But eventually she decides to just try it, because after all, she's bored and lonely, and he's attractive and nice.  This being a Christmas book with the word "mistletoe" in it, romance obviously ensues.

But that doesn't exactly sound like Cinderella, does it.  (Yes, this paragraph has some vague spoilage.)  Well, everyone believes Elise is plain and unlovable.  Her coworkers dump the unpleasant work on her.  One co-worker fulfills the "mean stepsister" role -- she's gorgeous and always surrounded by men, and not only makes snide remarks about Elise, but even tries to steal Nicholas at one point.  Nicholas is a charming rich man, basically a prince.  (And I'm pretty sure he's named Nicholas because he showers Elise with gifts like Saint Nicholas.)  Elise has an ex-husband who tries to keep her and Nicholas apart, much like an evil stepmother.  And later on, she undergoes a makeover and tries on all kinds of pretty dresses to get ready for a fancy party she'll attend with Nicholas.    She flees later on, like Cinderella, only to be pursued by her prince.  And, of course, they live happily ever after.

I liked this book a LOT, and am so grateful to Carissa for recommending it on her book blog, Bookshelves and Daydreams.  My mom read it while she was visiting over Christmas too, and liked it as well.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for a little mild smooching and a question of whether or not two unmarried people would share a hotel room (they don't).  Also some very emotional baggage and mention of an extramarital affair.  It's not something that would interest kids, anyway.

By the way, I'm doing lots of stuff for Cinderella Week over on my other blog, Hamlette's Soliloquy, including giveaways!

12 comments:

  1. This sounds like a fun read! :D

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  2. Yay! Ohh, I've been looking forward to this one!! Such an interesting premise and it sounds quite original when it comes to the plot twists.

    Off to check the library... Does it have any excessive sensual description when it comes to the smooching? You know, like some other modern romance stuff?

    (Hee, you used the Deanna Durbin button! ;))

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    1. Heidi, it's quite good. No excessive sensual stuff -- a little bit of "what would it be like if we kissed?" and then a little "Oh, wasn't that lovely?" sort of stuff, but nothing blush-inducing.

      And yes, I did! It matched the tone and feel of this book the best :-) It felt like it could have been a movie in the '40s, except for the modern things like cell phones.

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  3. You know what, I can't believe how dense I am too! Of course it's a Cinderella retelling! How could I not see that? Anyway, I'm so pleased you loved it as much as I do. It's such a precious and delightful book!

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    1. Carissa, it was that statue that tipped me off. But yes, if it hadn't been for me having Cinderella on the brain because of this party, I probably would have missed it too.

      This is one I will buy at some point.

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  4. I saw this on the shelf at work but never picked it up--maybe I should! Great review!

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    1. Hannah, it's very sweet and enjoyable. Try it some time! It's super fast to read.

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  5. I read this book in December too, and like you, I liked it a lot. Gave it 4 stars.

    In fact, I really like Richard Paul Evans. I read his "The Walk" series last year, one book right after the other. I had the whole 5-book series done in less than a week. It really spoke to my heart.

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    1. Patti, how cool! I haven't read anything else by him, though I did see the TV movie of The Christmas Box years ago because of Maureen O'Hara being in it. The blog I linked to in this post has reviews of a bunch of his Christmas books, if you want to check those out for next Christmastime.

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  6. I've seen this title around, but not read anything about it. It sounds like a fun read! *adds to TBR pile* Thanks for the rec! :)

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    1. Kara, I think you will reeeeeally enjoy this one!

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